WINDHOEK - Presidential Affairs Minister Albert Kawana says the impression created by the media that the President helped Ukwangali Chief Sitentu Mpasi to evict illegal grazers in exchange for land, is wrong.
Kawana made the remarks while delivering his ministerial statement in response to recent reports regarding the alleged allocation of land to President Hifikepunye Pohamba by Chief Mpasi in Parliament on Wednesday.
It was reported that Mpasi revealed in the Kahenge Magistrate’s Court in the Kavango Region last week that Pohamba received communal land from the Ukwangali Traditional Authority. He had been appearing in court in connection with a case in which more than 30 communal farmers from the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions stand accused of illegally allowing their cattle to graze on communal land belonging to the Ukwangali Traditional Authority.
“The newspaper articles give the impression that the president assisted the Ukwangali Chief to evict illegal grazers from western Kavango in return for land,” Kawana said, adding that it is a “very serious allegation” against the Head of State which cannot go unchallenged.
The Presidential Affairs Minister said that there is “no law in Namibia which empowers the president to render assistance to any person to evict communities from land, no matter how illegal such communities are on such land.”
He explained that in terms of Article 1 (1) of the Namibian Constitution, Namibia is founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all, which requires that the actions of public officials should be based on legality.
“Some time during 2008, the President applied for a plot or site in accordance with the provisions of the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002 near the Kavango River, which was approved and signed by Chief Sitentu Mpasi and Rudolf Ngondo, Chairperson of the Chiefs Council of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority,” Kawana explained.
He said it is misleading to create the impression that the granting of the land was a deal conculded between the chief and the President only. Kawana also said according to Article 21(1)(h) of the Namibian Constitution, all persons have the right to reside and settle in any part of Namibia and added that the President complied with the Communal Land Reform Act and the Constitution.
He then cautioned the media not to resort to “sensational reporting” which “has the effect of disturbing peace and stability in the country” and asked journalists to be “apostles of truth rather than agents of propaganda.”
“Sensational reporting is destructive and retrogressive, therefore it should be condemned by all patriotic Namibians in the strongest possible terms,” Kawana said.